Updated: Jun 23
Forgiveness might be the word of the year for the entire world right now. What exactly does it mean for us on a personal, global, and historical level? Are the wages of sin from our ancestors to be carried with us in a new age? For those that have lost a loved one and haven't received forgiveness can we forgive them for not doing so? Can we forgive other nations for the atrocities they have perpetrated upon others? Can we forgive our own leaders for their lack of leadership that befits our definition of being led and guided? Can we forgive those that have enslaved populations over the millennia? Those that traffic women and children over the borders of countries for financial and perverse gain? Can we forgive the young girl who was mean to a classmate? What about a group of teens that bullies others on Facebook? Parents that want retribution for the damage that causes their child - can they forgive? Can we forgive the church doctrine that insists that we are sinners and not worthy? What do you need to be forgiven for? What ill will or act have you done that ultimately when looking back was a terrible mistake? Did you act out of ignorance or, did you act from that which you were taught? Would the men and women of the Third Reich be forgiven for killing over 6 million people? These questions and more come to my mind as we face a future that has been forever changed. Can brothers that have fought for years forgive each other? Can sisters let go of their jealousies that she is prettier than me? Can children forgive their parents for not loving them as they should have? Is there grace on the pages of our future?
His Holiness the Dali Lama, states that, “…A negative attitude and anger breeds more negativity, while forgiveness rooted in compassion holds the open chance for transformation.”. In an interview he expands on the concept that tolerance, patience, and compassion are imperative to forgiveness. He further states that kindness is one of the fundamental principles of forgiveness. Think on that for a moment or ten.
I used to think the comment that, "our parents did the best they could" was a load of crap. It was a phrase used to reduce their guilt for their wrongdoing(s). That it would mean they didn't have to take responsibility for what they did or didn't do. Did they really do the best they could do?
What I now realize is that the truth is: our parents learned the way they are/were from their parents, our world leaders have learned from those that have gone before them. And, so it goes. The sins of the father are passed down generationally until someone in the lineage wakes up and changes their way of "doing, acting, parenting, socializing, working, playing leading”, etc.
Can we learn, really learn from what Jesus said in his dying moments, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do?" Maybe the truth is indeed found in those famous words. Jesus being an enlightened soul knew that his accusers and prosecutors were acting out of ignorance and blindness. They couldn't see the truth for what it was. Nor could they embrace the concept that maybe Pontius Pilate’s order for torture and killing was wrong on every level. What is astonishing is that even in his physical suffering and pain Jesus was able to rise above his physical body to give relief and forgiveness to those that were killing him. Even if you don't have a faith of any kind and maybe even question the story of Jesus, his life, his teachings and his eventual death, the story can be applied to our lives today. The words he uttered on the cross that day echo and reverberate throughout the centuries and can serve as a starting place for applying forgiveness to those that have done us wrong.
As we face our new world today and the coming months ahead can we forgive what has befallen us? Can our world leaders, the CEO's of our corporations and businesses, the clergy from whom we get our spiritual principles and guidance, our parents who bore us and raised us to live and be a certain way in the world, our children whom we now raise and have hurt us, our planet whom we have mindlessly over the years trampled upon, can we forgive and heal it all?
What I know for certain is that the answers lie within us all. I used to tell my step-children that if they are about to do something that they know is wrong or hurtful to themselves or others, then they need to stop, take a breath, step back and try a different approach. That message may have fallen upon deaf ears because at 9 and 6 years old what our parents or guardians tell us may or, may not sink in.
In adulthood though, as I have matured I have embraced that concept and ask myself all the time, what will the outcome of this be, am I doing this out of a need to control, will I hurt myself or my loved one by doing such and such? If my internal authentic self answers yes to any of it, then, I need to follow my own best advice and not do what I thought I might do.
Can you apply that concept in your life? Does it have meaning for you? Who, do you need to forgive? Can you find compassion in your heart for others? Have you forgiven yourself? Are you holding onto control about some issue that is long passed between you and a loved-one?
There is grace to be experienced. Forgiveness can break unhealthy bonds that bind us to the past, and even the present and future. You only have now, this very moment, let go, break the chains that bind you, forgive, and heal yourself. In so doing you will be on the road to recovery, acceptance, and well-being. It is possible. Yes, it is possible.